OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he regrets the mistake of travelling to British Columbia to join his vacationing family on a day meant to honour Indigenous survivors of Canada's residential schools system.
Trudeau's presence in Tofino, B.C., last Thursday came as a shock after his itinerary initially reported he was in Ottawa for private meetings.
A spokesman for Trudeau said he spent several hours on the phone with eight people who lived through residential schools, and denied that the prime minister had used the historic day to take a vacation.
Global News filmed the prime minister walking along a beach and the resulting video shows him declining to offer any comment.
Reports of his activities on that day sparked widespread backlash from Indigenous leaders, who felt it was disrespectful of him not to join other politicians in attending events held to honour the children who never came home.
Trudeau is acknowledging today that the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation was an important moment for all people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to reflect and to remember.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2021.
The Canadian Press